HARRISBURG — Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) issued the following statement today regarding Senate passage of legislation to ensure Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants can access benefits in a timely and efficient manner, while at the same time adding greater transparency and accountability to the UC system:
“Hardworking Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have suffered from unacceptably long waiting periods for unemployment benefits due to poorly managed operations at the Department of Labor and Industry. Gross mismanagement has resulted in not only the waste of taxpayer resources but the potential loss of federal funds since 2013. Taxpayers deserve better. The Department of Labor and Industry needs to be held accountable for how the $178 million in taxpayer funds, which were already allocated to improve the UC system over the last four years, has been spent.
“This is why the Senate refused to blindly transfer an additional $57 million during the final days of the last legislative session. There was no promise of additional accountability from the Department or the Wolf Administration. The decision was extremely difficult, particularly in light of the Governor’s office decision to close centers and lay off hundreds of employees creating a tremendous backlog of services.
“Today’s vote is a crucial step to ensuring unemployed Pennsylvanians do not continue to suffer as a result of mismanagement. The transfer of $15 million is not the full amount that was requested by the Department. However, it allows for a reprieve until the Auditor General report on the UC system is released, and requires the Department to provide the legislature with more information to determine the changes needed to ensure the long term stability of the UC system.”
CONTACT: Katrina Anderson (717) 787-1463